Nuclear warheads have been completed for Russia's new Bulavasubmarine-launched ballistic missile, its designer Yury Solomonov saidon Tuesday in an interview with Russia's Natsionalnaya Oborona(National Defense) journal to be published later in December.
"The nuclear payload will have been completed by the time themissiles are installed in the carrier [submarine]," Solomonov said.
Four Bulava test launches will be carried out in the second half ofDecember from the Borei-class nuclear-powered missile submarine YuryDolgoruky, he said.
In the last test in late October, a Bulava missile was successfullytest-fired from the Dmitry Donskoi nuclear-powered submarine in theWhite Sea, hitting a target on a test range in Russia's Far EastKamchatka region some 6,000 kilometers to the east.
It was the second successful firing in a month, coming after several failures.
A government source had previously said that the second stage ofBulava tests will start at the end of May 2011, if the launches in 2010are a success.
The Russian military expects the Bulava, along with Topol-Mland-based ballistic missiles, to become the core of Russia's nucleartriad.
Despite previous failures, officially blamed on manufacturingfaults, the Russian military has insisted that there is no alternativeto Bulava and pledged to continue testing the missile until it is readyfor service with the Navy.
The Bulava (SS-NX-30) SLBM carries up to 10 MIRV warheads and has a range of over 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles).
The Russian navy plans to deploy Bulava on modified Project 941 and the new Project 955 Borei class submarines.